By Sol Lys
Last week, I was invited into a men’s group on Facebook. The group is a space for sharing with other men. In the group, one of the members asked other men to share their perspectives on manhood and what it means to be a “real man.”
Lately, I have been reflecting a great deal on this, and I feel inspired to share my journey over the last two years.
Looking in the Mirror
Two years ago I found myself leaving a long-term, loving relationship. I was blessed to share time with an amazing woman for almost eight years. We had grown apart, and I wasn’t able to stay with her because I felt we no longer shared the same interests and cared about the same things. I felt we could not meet in what had become more and more important in my life, which was the search for Spirit and Void.
At least that was the reason I told myself. Today, when I look back, I can see that that was not the only reason. In reality, I was struggling to meet the aspects of myself that she was reflecting back to me. I was struggling to meet, and did not have the full capacity to hold, the Divine Feminine in love.
We broke up, and I definitely feel it was the right choice for me, because that decision led to a much deeper dive into my essence. Profound experiences and a much deeper seeing into Non-Existence and Void led me to realize that I had to meet aspects of myself that I had shut off for most of my life.
Because of inherited wiring from both of my parents, because of deep wounds and traumas, I had been reaching for the light to such an extent that it had cut me off from deep feeling. Thus, I wasn’t aware of a whole dimension of my own being. It was not that I didn’t experience any feelings—far from it. I have always been very sensitive. But, I discovered that I carried a lot of judgment around for certain feelings. I could not meet and hold these aspects of myself.
The Inner Man Meets the Divine Feminine
After a longer solitary retreat with silence, yoga, meditation, and a deep call for God, I felt empowered in such a profound way that I initiated a journey into the darkness. I felt called to explore my shadow side, my fears, wounds, and traumas. On an intuitive level, my being knew that this work needed to happen in order for me to go deeper in love. From then on, things seemed to move very fast—as if something had just been waiting to be discovered. I was invited to feel my inner man. This inner man is directly connected to the flesh, as in the body, as in the Earth itself. When we are born into matter we are also invited to feel and love Her, the Divine Feminine. She is God in form. Only through feeling everything with no preference between pain, pleasure, brokenness, and non-brokenness will She open up to us. She will reveal all her darkness; all our darkness. When there is no preference, there is love for Her. If there is a preference, it is the same as rejecting Her, and thus saying no to loving Her. She will then close Herself. This is something I am indeed still learning.
Shortly after the initiation into Her, the universe guided me to work with a woman, to work with Naseem, who is now my beloved partner. We made vows to put truth first and to commit to each other as long as it serves the purpose of truth and our own evolution. The power of pure intention, truth, and Man/Woman soon became obvious to us. This work is very beautiful, challenging, and extremely transformative.
We both felt a deep pull towards each other and towards truth. We asked for truth no matter the cost. She made it possible for me to become aware of deeper and deeper wounds. Like layers of an onion, everything that previously could only exist around that wound peeled off. It has been an extremely painful, challenging, and heart-breaking journey for both of us. Death has been met again and again. But, each time we die, we dive deeper together. We have to let go, we have to allow the fire to burn what is not true and dare to be naked and vulnerable.
Becoming a True Man Means Being Vulnerable
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open up to love, we let the light shine upon parts of us that have been in darkness for as long as we can remember. It is painful but necessary in order to become whole as Humans, as Man and as Woman. Vulnerability is absolutely key for opening more.
As a man (identifying with the masculine), I have to meet and bow to the Divine Feminine again and again. I have felt so much hatred for her and so much fear of her. Fear of losing control. This is deeply ingrained in the masculine. The feminine works in a completely non-linear way. She works from a logic that is hidden from me and has really pissed me off, challenged me, and made me furious. It’s been a real struggle. I have had to face the arrogance of the masculine many times, which is only possible in humbleness. In my partner, I see and experience a direct manifestation of Her. Thus, I have struggled and hated her. I have closed down again and again, as I could not surrender to Her in my own being. I have also opened again and again and closed again and again. In the dance of attraction and retraction, opening and closing, we dive deeper together. We make love and disappear into each other’s vastness. We meet fullness and we meet emptiness. I die, I become Shiva.
What Defines a True Man?
For me, it has become obvious that a True Man is a man who has met the Divine Feminine, Shakti, in himself. A Man that can hold all his pain and deep wounds with love. This Man will be able to fully embrace Shakti. He rests in himself and is not afraid of the constant dance and movement that is life itself. He knows and feels he is that, too. He knows there is no separation, even though he rests in his masculine essence—Death, Stillness, and Non-Existence. Only when Man and Woman both rest as whole human beings can they truly meet in the Heart. There will be no more projections, no ideas or romantic dreams. They carry themselves in a container of Truth. They understand the wounding that plays out between people. They have grown to embody compassion, as they no longer judge themselves or others, but care deeply.
This work takes time and there is no grand final ceremony that concludes the process. It is an ongoing and deepening journey of compassion and love.
This article is dedicated to my mother Mari-Anne, my beloved partner Naseem, my janitor Aisha, and Mother Earth, to whom I am eternally grateful.
In humbleness and service, Sol
Sol and his partner Naseem are Hridaya Yoga teachers. You can find more about them on their website.